Numbers 11:1, “When the people complained, it displeased the LORD”
Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him”
Some people have turned complaining into an art form. If you say, “I don’t have anything to complain about,” they are happy to offer some suggestions. They count their many blessings and then complain that there aren’t more of them. I’m reminded of the story about a farmer who was known for his negative attitude. One day a neighbor stopped by and commented on the farmer’s wonderful crop. “You must be extremely happy with this year’s harvest,” he said. The farmer grudgingly replied, “Well, yes, it looks like a pretty good one, but a bumper crop is awfully hard on the soil.”
If you know anything about the people of Israel they also had this same kind of complaining attitude. Not very long after their exodus from Egypt and while in the wilderness, they ran out of food. God miraculously took care of them during their forty years of wandering, yet they still constantly complained. They griped about the manna God had so graciously provided for them, because they remembered the fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic of Egypt. They complained, “There is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” (Numbers 11:6) What ingratitude!
Don’t we many times tend to focus on the negatives rather than on the positives of life? We murmur against the Lord when we should be praising Him for our countless blessings. We let ourselves be distracted by the disappointments and deprivations that God allows for our spiritual good. My beloved, God doesn’t take our complaining lightly, so whenever we are tempted to grumble, let’s remember Numbers 11:1, “When the people complained, it displeased the LORD.”
Among the first words many of us were taught to say by our parents was “please” and “thank you”. However, many of us today tend to forget the real essence of gratitude. We just simply utter the words “thank you” or “please”, but then do we really even mean it? Sometimes the gift already becomes more important than the giver, the fact that we just simply take them for granted.
God has given us a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one of them to say thank you. We are told to be grateful enough to God for everything he has given us, since without him we are nothing. I suspect that as we grow older we become more proficient at saying “please” and “thank you”, especially with our heavenly Father. We tend to focus more on pressing needs than on previous provisions (as the Israelites did); thus, we petition more than we praise.
In Colossians 3:15, the apostle Paul instructed every follower of Jesus Christ to “let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” Then three times he reminded us to remain grateful to God: “be thankful” (v. 15); sing with gratitude to the Lord (v. 16); “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (v. 17). Dr. Michael Avery, president of God’s Bible School in Cincinnati, Ohio, has said, “Very few things honor and glorify God more than the sweet fragrance of a thankful soul. It expels gloom and ushers in sweet peace and blessed hope. Gratitude encourages graciousness.”
Have you ever found yourself becoming apathetic with all the blessings God showers upon you each day? If you have, don’t take them for granted, but always remember to thank God for His daily provision of life, strength, and the countless good things and bad things He provides for us in our service for Him.
Some people go through life standing at the complaint counter; hopefully you’re not one of them!